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Full text of "A history of Persia"

490                 HISTORY OF PERSIA                CHAP.
be farmed out. The would-be farmer, who had to be a
man of position, accepted responsibility for the revenue
as laid down. ' In addition he paid the Shah a large
pshkash or present, with a similar but smaller gift for the
Grand Vizier. Upon reaching the province the Governor
sold every post in turn, to indemnify himself for his ex-
penditure and also to lay by for a rainy day. It was this
corruption, termed mudakhil, "receipt or perquisite,"
which permeated every class and cankered the body politic
in Persia.
The fact that every post was put up to auction, and
that so long as the revenue and the fishkash were duly
paid questions were not asked, led to terrible acts of
tyranny. In some cases the Governor ordered his minions
to manufacture crime, and in others he even sent out
bands of men to rob for his benefit. Justice, too, was
sold like everything else. It must, however, be re-
membered, as I have mentioned elsewhere, that Persia was
in the medieval stage of civilization; and, however
picturesque that period of history may appear to the
modern reader in Europe, it covered just as much cruelty,
injustice and corruption as that which I have here described.
Justice.—By way of preface to the subject of justice,
it is necessary to point out that the theory of law in Persia
differs from that in Europe. In the West a crime is
regarded almost entirely as an offence against the State,
whose duty it is to exact the penalty. In the East the
point of view is rather that a crime is an offence committed
against an individual, whose right to exact retribution or
compensation is acknowledged.
In Persia there are two laws—the religious and the
common. The Shar, or religious law, is based on the
Koran, the opinions of the Imams, and the commentaries
of the Shia jurists. This body of law has been codified
and divided into four heads, dealing respectively with
religious rights and duties, contracts, personal affairs, and
judicial procedure. It is administered by the Mujtahids
and Mullas and takes cognisance of offences against
religion, all questions concerning land and marriage,
divorce, etc. Indeed, by the theory of Islam, there are